The Absolute or Obsolete? Episode

10 April 2019

Vox Pops from the “Absolute or Obsolete?” Episode


Obsolete or Absolute?

In the world of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, one principle that is emerging as a fundamental aspect of the change our societies are undergoing, is speed. Another, as disciplines merge, partnerships assert themselves, and interconnectedness dominates, is teamwork. And all of these factors are now generating a penetrating debate in institutes of higher learning. And the question being debated represents a radical reassessment: Is the academic thesis obsolete?


Prof. Ylva Rodny-Gumede (Facilitator)

Ylva Rodny-Gumede (Facilitator) is the Senior Director: Division of Internationalisation and also Professor in the School of Communication at the University of Johannesburg.

She is a Senior Associate Researcher with the Stanhope Centre for International Communications Policy Research at the London School of Economics. She holds a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London University as well as an MA degree in Politics from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa and an MA in Journalism from Cardiff University in the U.K. Ylva is a former journalist and has also worked in marketing and PR. In addition, she has consulted for several government, private and academic institutions in Europe and Southern Africa on issues concerning media and democracy, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education, and the SADC Parliamentary Forum. Ylva holds a C 3 rating from the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) and is the current President of the South African Communications and Media Association (SACOMM).

Dr Sean McCoy

Dr Sean McCoy holds a deep-seated passion for the impact and role of branding across the spectrum of economic, social and cultural influence. This has shaped his career over the last 30 years and has a definitive bearing on his role in business and academia today. In practice he has held senior leadership positions in several international marketing services organisations, which facilitated his journey as a founder member of HKLM in 2003. He supplements extensive practice across a wide range of industry sectors with ongoing academic research in the field. As a consummate learner he concluded his doctorate in brand alignment for competitive advantage in 2012 and builds on this area of study through ongoing academic research and supervision at several leading business schools. He has published in international journals and contributed extensively to thought leadership in the field, through active media and conference participation, locally and abroad.

Sean is a committed family man with a number of interests outside of business and an exhausting bucket list of action oriented adventures and travels which includes the more sedate but challenging desire to play the saxophone.

Angus Donald Campbell

Angus Donald Campbell is the Head of Department and Senior Lecturer at the Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). He is a qualified industrial designer with a Master’s degree and over 15 years of university lecturing, research and freelance design experience. His design research focuses on innovation at the nexus of social, ecological and technological systems within the South African context. This is evidenced through multiple publications, conference papers and postgraduate student supervision.

Dr. Juliet Daniel

Dr. Juliet Daniel is a Professor in the Department of Biology at McMaster University. Dr. Daniel received her B.Sc. from Queen’s University (Kingston), her Ph.D. from UBC (Vancouver) and completed postdoctoral fellowships at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. At McMaster, Dr. Daniel’s research team focuses on understanding how disruptions in cell-cell adhesion and signaling contribute to cancer initiation and progression. Dr. Daniel is most interested in the aggressive triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) subtype that is associated with poor prognosis due to an absence of specific therapies. Intriguingly, young pre-menopausal women of African ancestry have a higher TNBC prevalence and mortality compared to other ethnicities despite a lower incidence and lifetime risk of breast cancer. Since socio-economic status does not fully explain the racial disparity in TNBC prevalence and mortality, Dr. Daniel’s research team seeks to identify unique biomarkers or gene mutations that may explain this racial disparity. Her team will utilize genetic, genomic, molecular and cell biology techniques to analyze TNBC tissues from populations of shared African ancestry (Caribbean and West Africa) to identify genetic risk factors that can be used as biomarkers to diagnose or develop therapies for TNBC patients worldwide.